SOUTH PORTLAND — The City Council will consider zoning changes Wednesday that would allow two large residential housing developments to be built near the Maine Mall.
The council will be asked to rezone two parcels near The Home Depot, between Clark’s Pond Parkway and Interstate 295, where an unnamed developer has expressed interest in building a 250-unit apartment complex, said Tex Haeuser, city planning director.
The parcels near Long Creek would be rezoned from Clark’s Pond Commercial District to Suburban Commercial District, which would remove a cap on the number of housing units that could be built.
The council also will be asked to rezone several undeveloped portions of the Sable Oaks Golf Course off Cummings and Running Hill roads, where owner Ocean Properties wants to build a residential housing project of 300 units or more, Haeuser said.
The mostly wooded parcels, located in the heart of the course, would be rezoned from Professional Office District to Suburban Commercial District, which allows mixed-use development.
Neither developer has submitted formal plans to be reviewed by city staff or the Planning Board, said Steve Puleo, community planner.
Additional proposed changes to the Suburban Commercial District would require that any building more than 59 feet tall (about six stories) be at least 100 feet from any residential structure on an abutting lot.
The council also will be asked to increase the allowed building height from 86 feet (about eight stories) to 156 feet (about 15 stories) if a project includes middle-income housing units.
The Planning Board voted 7-0 to recommend the changes, but stopped short of requiring middle-income housing units for the height bonus, Haeuser said.
Councilors indicated during a workshop Feb. 27 that they were generally supportive of the changes, he said, but they saw the need for more sidewalks and other amenities in the area to support residential living.
Haeuser noted that the proposed zoning changes meet guidelines of the 2012 Comprehensive Plan, which says uses in the mall area will evolve and expand to include residential development and become more pedestrian-friendly, “resulting in less distance between buildings and improved pedestrian facilities.”
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